Phanty’s Favorite Time of the Year

By The Phantom

Ah yes, Christmas is my favorite time of the year. You see, there is a long tradition we got from Merry Olde England, of telling ghost stories at Christmas time. And as a phantom, anything related to haunts grabs my fancy. They say that Dicken’s A Christmas Carol is the best known of the Christmas ghost stories, and I have to add that, for a human, he got it more right than most of the “ghost writers” (I love that term, even though it means something different). In fact, I know a couple of Dickens’ ghosts pretty well. Kinda sad to see that ghost story tradition fading. They say that about the last reference to the tradition was in the American song It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year:


There’ll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow.
There’ll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories
of Christmases long, long ago.

I just love the line about scary ghost stories — brings back memories of friends I rarely see now, since this cable TV gig keeps me too busy to get back to many reunions.

Anyway, let’s see what is scary about the cable industry now. Well, I don’t think there has been a time that change has been happening so fast — and change is always scary. Just look at how fast the traditionally two largest equipment vendors have been gobbled up, split up, and renamed. And the MSOs too: that big guy who started out in NYC many years ago and grew to a behemoth in both systems and networks, getting sucked up by someone recently a fraction of his size. And wow, that announcement a few months ago, the timing of which caught me by surprise even though I had been predicting it, the death of the NCTA, uh, I mean, the INTX show. The death was announced, what, two years after the name change? Leaves SCTE/ISBE as the only big show for us techie types, human and ghost.

The surveys are still showing us behind in customer service, so we’ve got some work there. The market is starting to do something we’ve predicted, and which the really scary people in Washington have failed to do after so many tries to rein in costs, going by the name of the skinny bundle. We think that skinny is going to be huge. Finally, the trades are bringing news of the loss of viewership of live sports, thought by some to be the last bastion of linear TV.

So where is the good news for this jolly season? Well, makes me glad that I’m haunting the cable TV industry, because we have what it takes: bandwidth, and the ability to change with the times. The SCTE/ISBE has gone international big-time. We’ve already started seeing alliances between the OTT types and MSOs, which shows the ability to think out of the box we were all in just a few years ago. This issue we hear from Rouzbeh, arguably the father of the cable modem. We beat DSL to market by several years. And we’ve left them in the dustbin of history when it comes to speed. With flexibility, DOCSIS® 3.1, and fiber where we need it and can put it in economically, we are very well positioned to move into 2017 and beyond, whichever way the fickle winds of public demand blow.


You never know when The Phantom is standing right beside you. Sometimes he is in a meeting with you or walking the floor at your favorite cable show. Sometimes he’s hanging with the suits and other times with the front liners. But be assured, The Phantom sees all, The Phantom knows all and, most importantly, The Phantom tells all.